Appalachian Power seeks 100% renewable energy option for Va. customers

Appalachian Power, an AEP (NYSE:AEP) utility, has filed a request with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) for approval of an alternative rate that gives customers the opportunity to purchase 100% of their electric energy from renewable sources.

APCO announced the voluntary proposal in a May 4 news release.

The proposed rider to the company’s Virginia Tariff—or Rider REO—bundles the energy output of multiple current and future renewable generators to provide around-the-clock, carbon-free generation to meet the total needs of participating customers. The Rider REO will be voluntary and available for all customer classes.

Under the plan to be considered by the SCC, the company has bundled the output of multiple renewable generators, constructing a portfolio that provides renewable energy at all hours of the day and in all seasons to participating customers. Initially, the portfolio will consist of 423 MW of Appalachian’s current wind and hydroelectric resources. As new renewable resources—including wind and solar—are added, the subscribed portion of those resources will be assigned to Rider REO.

Appalachian will make filings annually with the SCC to review and adjust the rider as needed.

The company has designed the voluntary rider so that customers subscribed to it will not be subject to charges on bills directly related to fossil-fuel energy generation, nor will standard retail customers subsidize REO customers.

The SCC will establish a schedule for the case (PUE-2016-00051).

In February, the Virginia SCC approved the latest Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) from Appalachian Power. The SCC also said that in the next resource plan the utility should lay out more details on how it plans to comply with the EPA Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

“We are increasing the amount of renewable energy in our generation portfolio and developing programs to help our customers meet their energy needs with renewables,” said James Fawcett, Appalachian’s manager for energy efficiency and alternative energy initiatives.  “The proposed Rider REO is the latest addition to our renewables strategy.”

“Rider REO will give our customers an easy way to use only renewable energy at a delivered cost competitive with standard service,” Fawcett said. “We expect that the ability to deliver 100 percent renewable energy will also provide economic development benefits to potential commercial and industrial customers seeking that requirement.

Appalachian Power has one million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.